Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kate's New and Hot (Week 2)

Pseudo-Darwinism?

Hey all,
My new and hot this week is from Evolution News & Views from the Discovery Institute.
Here's the link: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/04/pseudodarwinism.html

In this article, Michael Egnor tries to defend his view that Darwin had nothing to do with the discovery of the structure of DNA and the genetic code....or anything else really. This bio stuff isn't really my area of expertise, so I was hoping some of you humbio kids might have some interesting ideas about this. Egnor begins the article with a rebuttal of an argument made by biologist Reed Cartwright, whose response, to my never-ending amusement, can be accessed here.

Here is an excerpt from Egnor's article:
"This is the age of pseudo-Darwinism. Pseudo-Darwinism is the synthesis of Darwin’s theory and ‘anything you can think of.’ We have the synthesis of Darwin's theory and the discovery of the genetic code. We have the synthesis of Darwin’s theory and the biotech industry (transgenic organisms are designed and bred to produce human insulin—thanks to Darwin!). We have the synthesis of Darwin's theory and cancer research. We have the synthesis of Darwin’s theory and psychology (evolutionary psychology), Darwin’s theory and sociology (sociobiology), Darwin’s theory and culture (memes), Darwin’s theory and literature (literary Darwinism), Darwin’s theory and cosmology (multiverses), and Darwin’s theory and, well, everything (Dennett’s universal acid). None of these have anything to do with Darwin’s theory—the theory that all natural biological complexity arose by non-teleological variation and natural selection." (par. 9)

I'm not quite sure what to think about this...other than maybe they're both crazy. Any opinions?

Amazon review of the autobiography is up here.

See you next week,
Kate

1 comment:

Robbie said...

I'll go out there and say that Egnor is a little bit out of his tree.

While the first warning sign is that he's writing for the Discovery Institute, I think that molecular biologists have been able to use evolutionary principles to link their work on molecular structure to organism function and the evolution of organism function.

One example of this that we've been talking about in the HumBio core this week is the evolution of myelinated neurons in vertebrates -- seemingly selected for because of the evolutionary advantage of being able to move fast. But we can talk more about this kind of thing in class this week.